P V Sindhu loses to Carolina Marin in final, ends up with silver

World number one Carolina Marin of Spain overcame a first game loss to outplay India's P. V. Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the final and win the gold medal in the badminton women's singles at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

P. V. Sindhu
P. V. Sindhu
World number one Carolina Marin of Spain overcame a first game loss to outplay India's P. V. Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the final and win the gold medal in the badminton women's singles at the Olympic Games here today.
It was Marin almost all the way in the match, barring the later stages of the first game, when Sindhu came from behind at 12-16 to first come up on level and then reel off five points in a row to win at 21-16.
But, overall, the 21-year-old was up against a much better player today as the Spaniard played aggressively almost throughout and controlled the proceedings.
This was the first time that an Indian had made it to the badminton singles final and the silver that Sindhu won today is an improvement on the bronze won by her teammate Saina Nehwal at the London Olympics in 2012.
Sindhu, appearing in her first Olympics, managed to stay level with Marin in the opening minutes but was soon behind at 2-5, 5-9 and then 6-12 as the Spaniard attacked well, both from the baseline and the net, and kept her rival moving all over court.
The Indian, however, fought back to narrow the gap at 16-17 but Marin then moved ahead to 19-16 with a powerful shot to Sindhu's backhand. A series of unforced errors by Marin helped Sindhu pull up at 19-19 and the Indian quickly picked up two more points to win at 21-19 before the Spaniard quite realised what had happened. Sindhu had scored five points in a row at that stage, reminding spectators of the manner in which she had reeled off 11 points in a row in the second game of yesterday's semi-final against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, which she had won 21-19, 21-10.
Marin, an amazingly fast mover on the court, appeared more determined in the second game as she quickly jumped to a 4-0 lead, which she widened to 10-2 and then 11-4 before Sindhu could settle down.
Sindhu fought back briefly, defending wll and come up some good shots at the net, to make it 7-14 but Marin, with superb angled shots, beautiful wrist work and deft placements, ensured that she stayed ahead, moving to 18-10 and then sealing the game at 21-12.
Marin began the decider on an aggressive note, grabbing a 7-4 lead. Again, Sindhu clawed her way back into the game by equalising at 10-10. The two players crossed over with Marin having a slender 11-10 advantage.
Sindhu kept up the fight but could not quite catch up and was behind at 14-16 from where Marin managed six points in a row to end up with six match points and prevailed finally at 21-15 to win the gold -- the first European woman to achieve the distinction in badminton at the Olympics. Sindhu is the first Indian woman to win a silver at the Olympics.
Sindhu has, in the process, become the fourth Indian to win an Olympic siver. The first was shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in 2004, followed by shooter Vijay Kumkar and wrestler Sushil Kumar, both in 2008.
The silver helped India to move up to the 57th place in the medals tally table.
“I played well. I wanted to win, but I could not," Sindhu said after the match. “I am proud of what I have achieved.  Silver is no  mean achievement in  the Olympics."
“It was a tough encounter  and I gave my best," Sindhu said. “Marin is a very good player she played well. I tried to stop her in the third, but could not but I am not complaining.
“Every player wants to win and, in my heart of hearts, I was also thinking that only one match is left for the gld but that  turned out to be elusive.
“Never mind, it was a good match. I never thought I will ever play in the Olympic final. I am happy with the silver I got," she added.

ICC World T20: New Zealand stun India by 47 runs

New Zealand pulled off a stunning 47-run win over hosts India in the first group stage match of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium at Nagpur on Tuesday night.

New Zealand stun India, win by 47 runs
New Zealand pulled off a stunning 47-run win over hosts India in the first group stage match of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium here tonight.
The hosts appeared to have done well when they restricted New Zealand to 126 for seven in their 20 overs after the Kiwis' skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat first.
But they then managed to bowl out the Indians for just 79 in 18.1 overs to maintain their all-win record against India in T20 internationals, winning all the five matches they have met in so far. The shabby batting performance by the Indians was clearly no match for the might of the New Zealand bowling today.
Chasing what appeared to be an easy target, both the Indian openers departed under 10 runs. Shikhar Dhawan (1) was the first to go, trapped leg before wicket by Nathan McCullum.
Rohit Sharma followed him in the third over after making just five runs. He tried to take on Mitchell Santer, only to be removed by a stumping by Luke Ronchi. Suresh Raina (1) followed him into the pavilion in the same over. The south paw tried to flick the ball past mid-wicket only to play it too high and was caught by a waiting Martin Guptill at short mid-wicket.
Circumstances turned worse when Yuvraj Singh (4) followed within the power play, giving a return catch to Mccullum. Kohli who tried to build the innings with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni departed at the start of the ninth over.
By this time India were 39/5 and had bleak hopes of regaining control of the match.
Soon the rest of the tail tumbled for a feeble 79/10 in 18.1 overs. Except Dhoni (30), Kohli (23) and Ravichandran Ashwin (10), none of the other batsmen could cross into double digits.
The New Zealnd bowlers had a great day in the field with the ball. Slow-left-arm bowler Santer topped the bowling chart with figures of four for 11 with an economy of 2.75. This was backed up by Ish Sodhi who clamed three wickets for 18 in his four overs. Santer was chosen Player of the Match.
Earlier, things did not appear to be going to well for the Kiwis as they made first use of the pitch.
Opener Guptill smashed the first ball of the match from Ashwin for a straight six. But the off-spinner got even two balls later, trapping the batsman leg before wicket.
Colin Munro, who replaced him, departed after making just seven an over later, top-edging Ashish Nehra's ball to wide mid-on.
From then on, the Indian bowling attack struck home in terms of both picking up wickets at regular intervals and also restricting the Kiwis' run tally. 
Both Raina and Ravindra Jadeja completed their four overs with figures of one for 15 as the Indians came up with a good all-round perfomrnance in the field.
Dhoni took a catch off Jadeja and did a stumping as well and two brilliant runouts by Raina and Dhawan added to New Zealand's woes.
Corey Anderson stood out in the batting order, scoring 34 runs, and Luke Ronchi  scored 21 off 11 balls to take the side's total to 126 for seven at the end of 20 overs.
New Zealand innings (20 overs maximum)
MJ Guptill lbw b Ashwin 6
KS Williamson st Dhoni b Raina 8
C Munro c Pandya b Nehra 7
CJ Anderson b Bumrah 34
LRPL Taylor run out (Raina) 10
MJ Santner c †Dhoni b Jadeja 18
GD Elliott run out (Dhawan/Nehra) 9
L Ronchi not out 21
NL McCullum not out 0
Extras (b 4, lb 3, w 6) 13
Total (7 wickets; 20 overs) 126 (6.30 runs per over)
Did not bat: AF Milne, IS Sodhi
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Guptill, 0.2 ov), 2-13 (Munro, 1.3 ov), 3-35 (Williamson, 6.5 ov), 4-61 (Taylor, 11.3 ov), 5-89 (Anderson, 15.4 ov), 6-98 (Santner, 16.4 ov), 7-114 (Elliott, 19.3 ov)
R Ashwin 4 0 32 1
A Nehra 3 1 20 1
JJ Bumrah 4 0 15 1
SK Raina 4 0 16 1
RA Jadeja 4 0 26 1
HH Pandya 1 0 10 0
India innings (target: 127 runs from 20 overs)
RG Sharma st Ronchi b Santner 5
S Dhawan lbw b McCullum 1
V Kohli c Ronchi b Sodhi 23
SK Raina c Guptill b Santner 1
Yuvraj Singh c & b McCullum 4
MS Dhoni c McCullum b Santner 30
HH Pandya lbw b Santner 1
RA Jadeja c & b Sodhi 0
R Ashwin st Ronchi b Sodhi 10
A Nehra b Milne 0
JJ Bumrah not out 0
Extras (w 3, nb 1) 4
Total (all out; 18.1 overs) 79 (4.34 runs per over)
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Dhawan, 0.5 ov), 2-10 (Sharma, 2.2 ov), 3-12 (Raina, 2.5 ov), 4-26 (Yuvraj Singh, 4.5 ov), 5-39 (Kohli, 8.1 ov), 6-42 (Pandya, 9.4 ov), 7-43 (Jadeja, 10.2 ov), 8-73 (Ashwin, 16.3 ov), 9-79 (Dhoni, 17.4 ov), 10-79 (Nehra, 18.1 ov)
NL McCullum 3 0 15 2
CJ Anderson 3 0 18 0
MJ Santner 4 0 11 4
GD Elliott 2 0 9 0
AF Milne 2.1 0 8 1
IS Sodhi 4 0 18 3
Toss - New Zealand, who chose to bat
Points - New Zealand 2, India 0
Player of the match - MJ Santner (New Zealand)

SC appoints Gavaskar to oversee IPL as interim BCCI chief, Yadav to handle other functions

The Supreme Court on Friday appointed former Indian cricket skipper Sunil Gavaskar as interim president of the BCCI to oversee the IPL in place of incumbent N Srinivasan, who has stepped aside till the completion of the inquiry into allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the Twenty20 tournament.

BCCI counsel welcomes SC verdict
The Supreme Court today appointed former Indian cricket skipper Sunil Gavaskar as interim president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to oversee the Indian Premier League (IPL) in place of incumbent N Srinivasan, who has stepped aside till the completion of the inquiry into allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the Twenty20 tournament.
The apex court also said that all other functions of the BCCI president would be handled by another former cricketer, Shivlal Yadav, who is the seniormost vice-president of the BCCI. He represents the South Zone, the zone represented by Mr Srinivasan.
The court also allowed the two teams, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR), to participate in the seventh season of IPL beginning April 16. Both teams are being investigated for alleged involvement in the betting and spot-fixing scandal.
A two-judge bench comprising Mr Justice A K Patnaik and Mr Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla posted the matters before them, arising out of two petitions, for further hearing to April 16 and noted that it would take some more days after that for the hearing to be completed and for judgement to be delivered.
They noted that Mr Srinivasan had made a written offer through his counsel that, till investigation into which the allegations against him is completed, he will not discharge any of the functions of the post.
Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for the Cricket Association of Bihar in one of the petitions, had submitted that no further investigation into the allegations against Mr. Srinivasan is necessary as the findings of the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee, appointed by the court, and the materials relied on by the said committee for the findings were sufficient for the court to remove Mr. Srinivasan from the post of BCCI president as prayed in the petition before the Bombay High Court.
"As we are yet to hear all the parties in these matters, we cannot at this stage form any opinion and pass orders on the basis of such opinion for removal of Mr. Srinivasan from the post of the President of the BCCI. 
"The IPL 2014 is, however, scheduled to commence on 16th April, 2014 and we have to pass interim orders to ensure that all those who love cricket continue to watch cricket in IPL 2014 and the matches are played by the players in accordance with the IPL Rules," the judges said.
"Considering the fact that Mr. Sunil Gavaskar was a cricket player of great repute and eminence, a captain of the Indian cricket team for a long period and has a wide experience in cricket related activities and of men and matters, we appoint him, as an interim measure, to function as and exercise
the powers of the President of the BCCI in relation to the IPL, 2014 till we hear and deliver the judgment in these matters. We make it clear that
with regard to all other matters of BCCI, the senior most Vice-President of the BCCI, Mr. Shiv Lal Yadav, will discharge the functions of the President of the
"We also direct that till we deliver the judgment, none of the employees of India Cement Limited or its associate companies (except cricket players or commentators) will perform any of the duties assigned to them by the BCCI and the Interim President, Mr. Sunil Gavaskar, will have power to engage the services of such persons on whom he has confidence for work in connection with the IPL 2014," the order said.
The court said that it was upto Mr Gavaskar to decide as to whether Mr Sundar Raman, also an employee of India Cement, Should continue as Chief Operating Officer of IPL or not.
"In case of any difficulty, Mr. Gavaskar may apply to this Court for appropriate orders," the judges said.
They also said that Mr Gavaskar would not work as a commentator during this period as an interim president of the BCCI in relation to IPL matters, and that he would be adequately compensated for the loss of income by the BCCI.
The compensation amount would be determined after the court resumes hearing in the matter on April 16.
"We make it clear that we have not passed any order preventing any player or any team from participating in the IPL Tournament 2014," the court added.
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday said that Mr Srinivasan should step aside till the IPL probe is over and given it time until yesterday to come up with a proposal in this regard.
The BCCI yesterday told the court that Mr Srinivasan was willing to do so and that it was keen that the probe be completed expeditiously so that the whole episode could be put behind and it could move forward.
The Supreme Court proposed yesterday that Mr Srinivasan should step down and an eminent cricketer such as Mr Gavaskar be appointed in his place till it gave its final verdict in the IPL case.
It had also proposed that CSK and RR should not be part of IPL 7 and that no peson associated with India Cements, the company headed by Mr Srinivasan, should be allowed to function in any capacity in the BCCI.
The court had given the BCCI time until today to consider the proposals before it gave its interim order in the matter.
In the orders issued today, CSK and RR were allowed to participate in the tournament. 
The decision to ask Mr Yadav to handle the duties of the president of BCCI, other than those related to IPL, is in keeping with its rules which require that its head should be a member of the body.
Mr Srinivasan is the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of India Cements, which owns CSK, one of the eight teams in the tournament.
His son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, who was a member of the CSK team management, was arrested by the Mumbai Police in May 2013 as part of their probe into alleged spot-fixing and betting in the sixth season of IPL.
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is also the captain of CSK, is a senior employee of India Cements, as are some others associated with IPL and BCCI.
Mr Srinivasan had last year stepped aside as the BCCI chief to facilitate the investigations into the allegations, but was, on September 29, 2013 re-elected to the position.
The Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee's report, which was handed over to the Supreme Court on February 10 this year, is understood to have said that the allegations against Mr Meiyappan needed to be probed further.
The court had appointed the committee on October 8 last year to investigate the alleged scam.
Some players of Rajasthan Royals, including Indian bowler S Sreesanth, had been arrested for their alleged role in the spot-fixing scam.

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India bags 4 more golds, slides to 3rd place in medals table


India bagged up four more gold medals - 3 in boxing and 1 in table tennis - as it raised its tally to 36 golds but dropped to third place in the medals table in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Wednesday.

India's Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha after winning the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 13, 2010.
India's Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha after winning the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 13, 2010.

Indian boxers Paramjeet Samota, Manoj Kumar and Suranjoy Mayengbam and men's table tennis pair of Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha picked up gold medals as the hosts raised their tally to 36 gold medals on the penultimate day of the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts, however, found themselves pushed to third place in the medals table, with 36 golds, 26 silvers and 34 bronzes.

England pushed past them to the second slot with 37 golds, 56 silvers and 45 bronzes while Australia was unassailable at the top with 72 golds, 50 silvers and 47 bronzes.

The day also brought some shame for the home contingent with athlete Rani Yadav, who had competed in the women's 20 km walk, testing positive for a banned substance during an anti-doping test. She has been suspended from the Games, pending the result of a B sample test in the next 48 hours.

Samota capped India's best-ever showing in boxing at the Commonwealth Games as he outpointed Tariq Abdul Haqq of Trinidad and Tobago 5-1 in the men's heavy weight (91 kg) event in the final bout of competition this evening.

The Indian, who had bagged the bronze at the Asian Championships in Zhuhai, China last year, dominated the bout from the word go. He was leading 3-0 in the first round and increased it to 5-0 by the ed of the second, finishing with a 5-1 decision.

Before him, Manoj Kumar upset the more experienced Bradley Saunders of England in the light welterweight (64 kg) category 11-2. Saunders is a European Championships gold medallist.

Kumar, 24, worked up a 4-1 lead after the first round and widened it further to 8-1 going into the last round.

Earlier, Suranjoy won his flyweight (52kg) bout by walkover when Benson Njangiru of Kenya pulled out with a wrist injury.

India ended the competition with three gold and four bronze medals. Northern Ireland won three gold and England two, while Scotland and Sri Lanka took one each. This was India's best showing in boxing in the Commonwealth Games. They had won one gold each in 2002 and 2006.

Top-seeded Achanta and Saha sent the crowd at the packed Yamuna Sports Complex into raptures as they beat second-seeded Gao Ning and Yang Zi of Singapore 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 5-11, 11-8 in the final of the men's doubles event in table tennis.

The Singapore dictated the pace in the early stages and wrapped up the first set 11-9. But the crowd egged the local pair on and Achanta and Saha played brilliantly to take the next two sets 12-10 and 11-4. Gao and Yang took the match into a fifth set by winning the fourth 11-5 before Achanta and Saha settled the issue by winning the next set 11-8.

This is the first time that India has won the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games.

"In 2006 we went out of competition as underdogs. No one recognised us in the men's doubles competition in 2006. I was full of pride, so happy that I was finally able to do it. The government and our country has helped us a lot and the best way we can repay them is with a win today. Our aim was that our flag should fly high and we accomplished it," he said.

About his loss in the men's singles semi-finals to Yang earlier in the day, he said, "I lost the match today with close points. The competition was really tough. I wasn't able to forget my defeat today. It was really a hard phase today. I had just three hours to get rid of the thought that I was defeated today."


India grab 6 more golds to take Games tally to 20, stay in 2nd place


India won 6 more golds - 3 in shooting, 2 in wrestling and 1 in archery - to take its tally to 20 and retain the second slot in the medals table at the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Friday,

India's Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayala Devi after winning the gold medal in archery in the women;s team recurve event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.
India's Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayala Devi after winning the gold medal in archery in the women;s team recurve event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.

India won six more golds - three in shooting, two in wrestling and one in archery - to take its tally to 20 and retain the second slot in the medals table on the fifth day of competitions in the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts have so far managed 20 golds, 16 silvers and 12 bronzes. Australia are at the top of the table with 47 golds, 24 silvers and 27 bronzes, while England remained in the third place with 19 golds, 37 silvers and 20 bronzes.

The day started on a happy note for India with the trio of Deepika Kumari, Dola Banerjee and Bombayala Devi Laishram coming from behind to stun England 207-206 and taking the top slot in the Women's Team Recurve event in archery.

A little later, ace shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan won the gold in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event.

Their compatriot Vijay Kumar, 25, set a new Games Final Record to win gold, notching up 787.5 points in the Singles 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men event. He had earlier broken his own Games Qualification Record with a score of 583 points.

Alka Tomar defeated Tonya Verbeek of Canada in the 59 kg Women's Freestyle wrestling event at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.

She was followed by Anita, who beat Megan Buydens of Canada in the final of the 67 kg Women's Freestyle to take the gold.

"I've been through two months of hard training. After this win I'm more confident for future events like that," she said later.

India got their sixth gold medal of the day when shooter Omkar Singh won the Singles 10m Air Pistol Men with a score of 681.8. Bin Gai of Singapore took the silver with 676.2 while Daniel Repacholi of Australia got the bronze with 674.

Omkar Singh had picked up the gold in the company of Gurpreet Singh in the Men's 10m Air Pistol Pairs, notching up 1163 points for a new Games record. On Wednesday, he had won the Men's 50m Pistol Singles and taken the silver in the Men's 50m Pistol Pairs with Deepak Sharma on Tuesday.

Ashish Kumar, who won a bronze in the Men's Floor Exercise yesterday to earn for India its first ever medal in Gymnastics in the Commonwealth Games, won the silver in the men's vault today.

"I am disappointed at not getting the gold medal, but at least I have the experience of competing at this level. My first vault was the highest, but on the second I lost it," he said later.

Gymnast Ashish Kumar
Gymnast Ashish Kumar

The gold went to England's Luke Fowell, who had a score of 15.762 points. Kumar scored 16.150 points on his first attempt but then got a disappointing 14.475 on his second vault for an overall tally of 15.312. Ian Galvan of Canada got the bronze with a score of 15.037.

India had never won a medal in gymnastics before yesterday at the Olympics, World Championships or the Commonwealth Games.

Gurpreet Singh, who had won two golds yesterday in the Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Pairs and 10m Air Pistol Pairs, won the bronze in the event. Malaysia's Hasli Izwan Amir Hassan took the silver with a score of 760.3.

Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Mansher Singh grabbed silver in the Men's Trap Pairs event in shooting with a score of 197. The gold went to Australian pair Michael Diamond and Adam Vella, who notched up 198 for a new Games record.

In tennis, India were assured of a gold or silver in both the men's and women's singles with top seed Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza winning their semi-final matches today.

Devvarman beat Australia's Matt Ebden 6-3, 6-1 and will meet Greg Jones, also of Austrlia, in the final on Sunday.

Mirza dropped a set but then staged a strong comeback in front of a partisan home crowd on Central Court to prevail 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 over Olivia Rogowska of Australia. She will meet the winner of the other semi-final between two Australians, Anastasia Rodionova and Sally Peers.

"That was a fantastic win. My heart is beating really fast. It hasn't sunk in," Mirza said after the match.

"I'm happy with the way I fought because in the match I didn't play that well. I knew I just needed to fight and come up with something different. I just had to hang in there," she said.

There was disappointment for the home crowds in the men's doubles with Rohan Bopanna and Devvarman going down 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 to Ross Hutchins and Ken Skupski of England and Mahesh Bhupati and Leander Paes losing 2-6, 2-6 to Paul Hanley and Peter Luczak of Australia in the semi-finals.

India's Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai won the bronze in the Men's Team Recurve in archery today, beating England for the third position.

In wrestling, Babita Kumari of India had to settle for silver in the women's freestyle 51 kg event after losing the final to Ifeoma Christi Nwoye of Nigeria in the final.

The Indian women's hockey team drubbed Trinidad and Tobago 7-0 after losing 1-2 to Australia yesterday.

In boxing, Jai Bhagwan thrashed Nasser Mafuru of Tanzania 11-2 in the lightweight (60 kg) and Dilbag Singh beat Aaron Prince of Trinidad and Tobago 11-3 in the welterweight (69 kg).

India lost to New Zealand in the women's pairs of the lawn bowls competition and found themselves pushed to fifth place and unlikely to make the play-offs.

In squash, Anwesha Reddy of India beat Zephanie Curgenven of Guernsey 11-5, 11-5 5-11, 6-11, 11-6 in the women's singles Consolation Plate Final at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.

Shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan of India after winning the gold medal in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.
Shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan of India after winning the gold medal in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.

For shooter Narang, it was his third gold medal of the meet so far and the second in the pairs. He had earlier won the men's 10m Air Rifle Pairs event along with Abhinav Bindra and then in the 10m Air Rifle Men's Singles event.

In the process, Narang became the fifth person to win seven gold medals in shooting in the Commonwealth Games. He is the first male athlete to win three gold medals at the current edition of the Games in Delhi.

Narang and Khan finished with a tally of 2325, a Games record, to beat James Huckle and Kenny Parr of England, who had a total of 2308 in the finals at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting range.

At the Yamuna Sports Complex, the England women archers had maintained a slender lead for most of the tie today but found themselves in a position where they needed to score 15 points with just two arrows left to overtake the Indians.

Amy Oliver managed only six with her last shot and Alison Williamson needed a 10 off her final arrow but hit an eight to hand the Indian team the gold.

India's compound archers had won a silver in the men's and a bronze in the women's team events yesterday.




India grabs 5 golds to climb to 2nd spot in medals tally at Commonwealth Games


India grabbed five gold medals to climb to the second spot in the medals tally behind Australia at the end of the second day of competitions in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Tuesday.

Shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang after winning the first gold for India at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.
Shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang after winning the first gold for India at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.

India grabbed five gold medals -- with two pairs of shooters hitting the bull's eye and wrestlers snatching all three titles at stake -- to climb to the second spot in the medals tally behind Australia at the end of the second day of competitions in the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts started the day on a bright note as Beijing Olympics gold medalist Abhinav Bindra and world record holder Gagan Narang won the first gold of the Games for them in the men's 10 m Air Rifle Pairs at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.

They shot a total of 1,193 out of a maximum 1,200 points to snatch victory. Bindra scored 595 while Narang scored 598.

Shortly afterwards, Rahi Sarnobat and Anisa Sayeed set a Games record of 1,156 points to win gold in the women's 25 m Pistol Pairs.

The action then shifted to the wrestling arena at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, where in the men's Greco-Roman style, Ravinder Singh, Sanjay and Anil Kumar snatched gold in their respective categories.

Ravinder beat England's Christopher Terence Bosson 7-2 in the 60 kg category after which Sanjay prevailed over Brian Richard Addinall 2-0 in the 74 kg category. Anil Kumar brought more cheers for the home team by outperforming Hassene Fkiri of Australia 6-0 in the final of the 96 kg category.

India's medals haul today also included two silvers won by Deepak Sharma and Omkar Singh in the men's 50 m pistol pairs event and Tejaswini Sawant and Lajjakumari Gauswami in the 50 m rifle 3 position.

India's tally now stands at 5 golds, 4 silvers and 2 bronzes. India's women lifters Sonia Chanu and Sandhya Rani Devi gave India their first two medals - a silver and a bronze in the 48 kg class yesterday, followed by a silver and bronze by their male counterparts Sukhen Dey and V Srinivasa Rao in the 56 kg class.

In shooting, Sarnotbat achieved an average of 9.733 points while Sayeed averaged 9.533 in the session. For India, it was the second successive gold in this event, having won in the Melbourne Games in 2006, too.

Australia's Linda Ryan and Lalita Yauhleuskaya bagged silver with 1,146 points while Gorgs Geikie and Julia Lydall of England took the bronze with 1,122 points.

Onkar Singh and Deepak Sharma won a silver for India in the 50 m Air Pistol Pair event.

In the men's 10 m Air Rifle Pairs event, James Huckle and Kenny Parr of England took the silver with 1,174 points while Hel Abdullah Baki and Asif Hossain Khan of Bangladesh got the bronze with 1,173 points.

With today's victory, Bindra completed a treble in the event, having won golds earlier at the Manchester Commonealth Games in 2002 and at Melbourne in 2006. It was his fourth gold medal in shooting in the Games.

For Narang, it was his fifth gold medal in the Commonwealth Games, having won gold in the last three editions.

Bindra and Narang today broke their own Games record of 1,189 set in Melbourne four years ago.

India's badminton star Saina Nehwal in action against Mariama Ayanna Eastmond of Barbados in the team event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.
India's badminton star Saina Nehwal in action against Mariama Ayanna Eastmond of Barbados in the team event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.

Narang notched a sequence of 99, 100, 100, 99, 100, 100 while Bindra ended up with a series of 100, 98, 99, 100, 99, 99

In tennis, top seed Somdev Devvarman of India won 6-4, 6-2 in his opening match against Devin Mullings of the Bahamas but he looked ill at ease. "I was a little nervous. I did well to come back," he told reporters latr.

"Playing in India is a special feeling. It doesn't matter what seed you are. When you're playing something as big as this, it's a lot more special. You win for your country, then yourself," he added.

In the men's doubles, top seeded Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi of India cruised into the last eight with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Thangarajah Dineshkanthan and Amresh Jayawickreme in the first round.

In the women's doubles, Nirupama Sanjeev and Poojashree reached the quarter-finals with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Aminath Irufa Mahir and Aminath Maleela Solih of the Maldives.

In archery, top seed Rahul Banerjee and Jayanta Talukdar of India reached the last eight in the men's recurve as did Deepika Kumari and Dola Banerjee in the women's event.


Tata Housing to build India’s biggest gymnastics centre in Thane

Real estate developer Tata Housing today said it would build India's largest gymnastics centre in Thane, near here, in partnership with the Thane Municipal Corporation.
A press release from the company said the 1.2 lakh square foot centre would be developed in a public-private partnership model with the civic body at Pokhran Road No. 2 in the city.
The multi-storeyed facility would include an arena to accommodate all six disciplines of gymnastics, two team rooms with separate areas for players and coaches, a physiotherapy room, a music room, VIP rooms, a jury room, an administration area, a gymnasium, and a yoga room. 
It will also be designed to host 300 viewers, complete with parking space, the release said.
Mr. Brotin Banerjee, MD & CEO, Tata Housing, said, “We are honored to associate with the Thane Municipal Corporation to develop India’s largest gymnastics centre. The centre will be designed to international specifications, will provide access to world class training facilities and equipment.  We are committed to supporting the state and the nation in its efforts to nurture world class gymnasts, and we believe this facility built exclusively for gymnasts is a step in that direction.”
Ms. Pooja Surve, gymnast, coach and Shiv Chhatrapati awardee, said, “This facility, including flooring and equipment, will be designed as per international standards and serve all six disciplines of gymnastics. Moreover, it will exclusively focus on the sport of gymnastics allowing young and seasoned players to train in an uninterrupted and safe environment. I believe facilities of this kind will encourage younger players to pursue the sport and be trained up to Olympic standards.”
Situated in close proximity to the Upvan Lake, the location is famous for hosting the Sanskruti Arts Festival. It is one of the biggest lakes in Thane and surrounded by Yeoor Hills.

Sports networking site Viktre expands into India

Viktre, a content publishing platform and online community for professional athletes and fans, expanded into the Indian market today.
Apart from its India-based partners, cricketers Zaheer Khan and Rohit Sharma were present at the launch of the sports networking site.
Curated to showcase the life of an athlete, Viktre provides a multi-faceted network and community for professional athletes to connect on a more personal level with their fans. The platform features two interfaces: One for fans to interact with their favorite athletes via exclusive content, and one for professional athletes of all levels to interact with each other in a private, peer-to-peer setting.
“Launching in India has been an enormous goal of ours since day one,” said Al Steele, founder and CEO, Viktre. “We are thrilled to commemorate our expansion with these amazing athletes and delegates, who have helped us celebrate the rich sports culture in India. Viktre is all about embracing and celebrating the craftsmanship of athletes and the loyalty of sports fans. There’s few places on earth that have the same enthusiasm as Indian players and fans.”
A press release from Viktre said the platform, which is already operating in North America, was keen on developinga footprint in India.
The company is currently partnered with over 1,000 of the world’s most influential athletes, representing a myriad of sports and interests from golf to football and now cricket and boxing.
"Viktre's unique way of communicating with fans and athletes allows me to tell my personal stories – about cricket, charity, and family – all in my own voice and from my distinct point of view,” said Anil Kumble, head coach of the Indian cricket team. “It is wonderful to see a Canadian company investing in India, in Indian athletes and Indian sports.“
The official launch event was held at the Cricket Club of India here, with delegates and athlete partners from around the world. John Tory, mayor of Toronto, Canada, was also in attendance to represent and celebrate the prosperity of Canadian-Indian business relations, both in India and Canada. 
The social network can be accessed online or via its iOS and Android app, the release added.

Gazprom’s Football for Friendship international children’s project debuts in India

One young Indian footballer will play for the first time in the fifth season of the Football for Friendship (F4F) to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia from June 26 to July 4 as the international children's social project makes its debut in India.
This was announced by energy major Gazprom, official partner of FIFA and the 2018 FIFA World Cup while launching the F4F program in India for the first time.
A press release from the organisers said the project's geographical scope had expanded considerably in 2017, with the number of participating countries doubling from 32 to 64.
"This year, India will make their F4F debut. The project has thus brought together young footballers from four continents: Africa, Eurasia, and the Americas.
The release said the fifth season would be held in a new format. Instead of representing football clubs from different countries, young players will be divided into eight international Friendship Teams.
The teams’ composition and the playing positions of the participants were determined by a draw procedure. Individual player selection will take place at the Friendship Relay Race. The F4F International Organizing Committee will join efforts with national football federations to select young athletes for the 2017 competition. Eight-player teams will comprise boys and girls aged 12 years old, including those with disabilities, the release said. The draw procedure took place via an online conference. 
On April 25, the project will be joined by tens of thousands of children and adults celebrating the International Day of Football and Friendship. Each of them will wear a Friendship Bracelet, the official symbol of F4F, with blue and green threads interwoven to symbolize equality and healthy living.
On July 1, St. Petersburg will host the Gazprom Football for Friendship International Championship, bringing together players of different ethnicities, genders and physical capabilities. July 2 will see the Fifth Football for Friendship International Children's Forum, which will allow youngsters to discuss with famous footballers and journalists how to promote the project’s values around the world.
The fifth season of the F4F project will conclude with a visit by the participating children to the final match of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 at the St. Petersburg Stadium.
“Gazprom pursues global projects that look forward into the future, and the F4F project is closely aligned with that goal. In a mere four years, the number of participating countries grew eightfold. This year, St. Petersburg will host young footballers from as many as four continents. It means that the values of our social project are meaningful and relevant to children and teenagers all around the globe,” said Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee.
“Gazprom’s initiative will give a voice to children from around the world and we wholeheartedly endorse the goals and key values of the F4F project. We are delighted to support the initiatives of the F4F Organizing Committee until the 2018 FIFA World Cup,” said Philippe Le Floc’h, FIFA’s Chief Commercial Officer.
The F4F international children's social project is implemented by Gazprom within the Gazprom for Children program. The project is aimed at developing youth football and fostering tolerance and respect toward different cultures and ethnicities among children from across the world. The key values supported and promoted by the project's participants include friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honor.
The annual Football for Friendship International Children's Forum is the project’s most important event, bringing together young footballers from different countries who discuss worldwide promotion of the key values with media professionals and famous football players.
The F4F project has a special prize: the Nine Values Cup is a unique trophy awarded annually to a professional football club for the implementation of social initiatives based on the project’s values. The winner is chosen by young F4F ambassadors through a vote held in all countries participating in the project.
Hundreds of young athletes become ambassadors for the F4F movement and its values in their respective countries. The Friendship Bracelet, the official symbol of F4F, is worn by over 400,000 people across the world, including children, adults, well-known athletes and journalists, performers, political figures, and heads of state.
In 2017, the project’s participating countries are: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Mozambique, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

BCCI doubles men cricketers' retainer amounts, enhances match fees

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today doubled the annual retainer for all categories of men cricketers, with the amount going up to Rs. 2 crore per annum for Grade A players, to Rs. 1 crore per annum for Grade B players and Rs. 50 lakh per annum for Grade C players.
The decision was taken by the BCCI's Committee of Administrators, which met earlier in the day and decided on the Annual Player Contracts for men cricketers for the period ending September 30, 2017.
A press release from BCCI said the Match Fee enhancement for men cricketers will be effective from October 1, 2016 onwards. It will be Rs 15 lakh per Test, Rs 6 lakh per ODI and Rs 3 lakh for T20 International.
While updating the list of contracted players, the BCCI has demoted batsman Shikhar Dhawan to Grade C from Grade B, while Suresh Raina does not figure in any of the three groups.
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja and Murali Vijay have been promoted to Grade A, where they join Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane.
Following is the updated list of contracted players:
Grade A: Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, R Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, Murali Vijay.
Grade B: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuvraj Singh.
Grade C: Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Amit Mishra, Manish Pandey, Axar Patel, Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, Ashish Nehra, Kedar Jadhav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Parthiv Patel, Jayant Yadav, Mandeep Singh, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shardul Thakur, Rishabh Pant
The BCCI also handed over a cheque for Rs. 15 lakh to Ms. Sandhya Rajesh Sawant, wife of late Rajesh Sawant, who passed away while he was on official assignment with the India Under 19 team, in recognition of his services to Indian cricket.

TT: Ovtcharov wins men's single at India Open, Mori is women's champ

Dimitrij Ovtcharov
Dimitrij Ovtcharov
Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov brought the dream run of Japan’s 13-year-old sensation Tomokazu Harimoto to an abrupt end to capture the men’s singles title in the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open at the Thyagaraja Sports Complex here on Sunday.
The top seeded World No. 5, a medal winner in the last three Olympic Games, romped to an 11-6, 11-8, 11-4,14-12 victory to pocket the winner’s prize money of $18,000 in the prestigious $150,000 tournament.
Harimoto, who beat India’s Achanta Sharath Kamal in the semi-finals on Saturday night, however, had the satisfaction of seeing his compatriot Sakura Mori complete a grand double, adding the women’s singles title to the under-21 crown that she won earlier during the week.
The Ukrainian-born Ovtcharov just did not allow the Japanese youngster to play his attacking game, mixing his serves and attacking ferociously with his forehand. He won the first three games in no time even as Harimoto desperately tried to get his deceptive backhands going. 
In the fourth game, Harimoto put up a fight, taking the lead (3-1) for the first time in the contest. But he soon learnt that Ovtcharov was in a different league, as he slipped to 4-5. 
Earlier, the sixth seeded Mori, ranked No. 37 in the world, came back from a game down to claim the crown 4-3 (7-11, 11-5, 11-8, 12-10, 6-11, 8-11, 11-6) in a fitting finish to the $150,000 tournament. It was her first World Tour title.
Interestingly, 34-year old Matilda Ekholm also was on the cusp of a double, after pocketing the doubles crown in the company of her Hungarian partner Georgina Pota just an hour earlier. She and Pota toppled the top seeded pair of Hoi Kem Doo and Ho Ching Lee from Hong Kong in a five-game thriller 9-11, 11-3, 5-11, 14-12, 11-8.
Ekholm claimed the first game 11-7 even before Mori got into her groove. But once the Japanese player started firing her forehand top spins, she couldn’t find the strokes to counter her. 
She lost the next two games comprehensively 3-11, 5-11 to almost turn it into a one-sided affair. But then, she retrieved some resilience from her repertoire and fought all the way to the wire in the fourth game. She had a couple of opportunities to regain ground but failed to capitalise on them and lost 12-14.
Sakura Mori
Sakura Mori
That, however, gave her the confidence to take on her 21-year-old opponent in an attacking vein. She used her forehand smashes a lot more diligently to win the next two games 11-6, 11-8 to take the contest to the decider.
The seventh game, sadly, turned out to be an anti-climax. Ekholm committed one mistake after another to quickly go down 0-5. It turned to 2-9 to turn and even though clawed her way back to 5-9, it was just a matter of time after that
Women's Doubles
[4]Matilda Ekholm (SWE)/[3] Georgina Pota (HUN) Beat [1] Hoi Kem Doo (HKG)/[2] Ho Ching Lee (HKG) - 9-11, 11-3, 5-11, 14-12, 11-8
Men's Doubles
[9] Masataka Morizono (JPN)/[5] Yuya Oshima (JPN) Beat [10] Ruwen Filus (GER)/[12] Ricardo Walther (GER) - 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9
Women's Singles
[6] Sakura Mori (JPN) Beat [4] Matilda Ekholm (SWE) - 7-11, 11-5, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6
Men's Singles
[1] Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER) vs [14] Tomokazu Harimoto (JPN) - 11-6, 11-8, 11-4, 14-12

TT: Sharath Kamal keeps Indian dream alive; wins a thriller to enter last four in India Open

Achanta Sharath Kamal of India
Achanta Sharath Kamal of India
India’s Achanta Sharath Kamal pulled off a nerve-wracking 4-3 victory against sixth-seeded Paul Drinkhall of England to surge into the semifinals of the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open at the Thyagaraj Stadium here today.
The seven-time national champion and World No. 62 had to pull out his prime defensive game to outwit and outlast Drinkall, a multiple medal winner in the last two Commonwealth Games.
It proved to be a battle of nerves and patience as Drinkall slowed down the pace of the contest, keeping the ball short while also loading it with devastating spin. Sharath was not allowed to play his natural, attacking game and the two had to rely on each other’s errors to win every point.
Sharath began on a strong note, racing away to a 11-4 win in the opening game. But Drinkhall quickly got his game together and frustrated and stunned Sharath with his well thought out tactics. He won the next two games 12-10, 11-9 to put the pressure entirely on the Indian, who had the full backing of a heavily invested home crowd.
The 34-year-old Sharath began to look for openings to attack from that stage, and came back strongly to win the next two 12-10, 11-9. He jumped to a 3-0 lead but allowed Drinkhall to catch up with him. He went up 6-4 but then conceded four points to lose the psychological advantage. Drinkhall rode on the momentum to take the sixth game and place the match on the needle.
By now, the crowds were on the edge even though he made a strong start in the decider, going up 2-0 and 3-1.  But Drinkhall fought back and took a commanding 8-5 lead. Sharath continued to attack and it helped him to stay in the contest. He saved two match points and a couple of forehand drives saw him emerge triumphant. 
He will take on Japan’s 14-year-old sensation Tomokazu Harimoto, who beat the eighth seeded Robert Gardos of Austria 4-2, earlier in the day. 
Earlier in the day, top-seeded Ovtcharov Dimitrij survived a scare to advance into the semi-finals after a gruelling 4-3 victory over Yuya Oshima of Japan.  The World No. 5 German who came into the match without dropping a game could not get the desired start and lost the opening game 7-11. He regained his composure to win the next three games 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 to move into a strong position. Down 1-3 and staring at the bottom of the barrel, the 39th ranked Japanese upped the ante to take the next two games 11-4, 11-6 to restore parity. 
Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany
Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany
With the scores tied, both the players displayed great tenacity and got involved in a neck-to-neck battle. However, it was the German who prevailed 12-10 to move into the last four. He will now take on the third seeded Koki Niwa of Japan who sealed his berth in the semis by registering an easy 4-1 victory over the qualifier Tianyi Jiang of Hong Kong.
In the women’s singles competition, eighth seeded Wing Nam Ng of Hong Kong beat Goergina Pota of Hungary 11-9, 11-6, 12-10, 8-11, 11-3 to set up a semi-final clash against sixth-seeded Sakura Mori of Japan who beat Tze Wing Mak of Hong Kong 11-6, 13-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-7. 
RESULTS (till 7 pm)
Women's Singles (Quarter-finals)
[8] Wing Nam NG (HKG) Beat [3] Georgina Pota (HUN) - 11-9, 11-6, 12-10, 8-11, 11-3
[6] Sakura Mori (JPN) vs [11] Tze Wing Mak (HKG) - 11-6, 13-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-7
Men's Singles (Quarter-finals)
[1] Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER) Beat [5] Yuya Oshima (JPN)- 7-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8, 4-11, 6-11, 12-10
[3] Koki Niwa (JPN) Beat Tianyi Jiang (HKG) - 11-9, 10-12, 11-1, 11-8, 11-8
[11] Sharath Kamal Achanta (IND) Beat [6] Paul Drinkhall (ENG) - 11-4, 10-12, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 13-11
[14] Tomokazu Harimoto (JPN) Beat [8] Robert Gardos (AUT) - 4-11, 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 11-6

TT: Top seed Ovtcharov advances to quarters, Sathiyan crashes out of India Open

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran
Top-seeded Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany cruised into the quarter-finals of the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open here today on a day that saw a number of Indians fall by the wayside.
The World No. 5 won both his matches emphatically here at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex to underline his class and pedigree even in this star-studded field.
The country had as many as seven Indians competing for a place in the last eight but five of them faltered at this hurdle itself at the time of writing. Gnanasekaran Sathiyan put up the most valiant fight in the round of 32, losing to ninth-seeded Masataka Morizono of Japan in a seven-game thriller.
Young Archana Kamath, who earlier in the day beat compatriot Ayhika Mukherjee 4-2 to qualify for the pre-quarters, too pushed sixth seeded Sakura Mori of Japan to the hilt before crashing out. Archana displayed great skill and determination, and a strong offensive game as well, but ran out of ideas against her more experienced opponent, 
Earlier, Ovtcharov, the World No. 5 paddler displayed his exquisite touch in his first outing itself, comprehensively beating Abdulaziz Al Abbad of Saudi Arabia 4-0 (11-3, 11-5, 11-4, 11-2). He was equally dominant in his next match, against Joao Geraldo of Portugal, to underline his pedigree even in this star-studded field. 
Ovtcharov barely broke into a sweat as he raced to his second straight games victory against Geraldo (11-3, 11-3, 11-5, 11-4). He will clearly be the man to beat in this $150,000 tournament, organised by 11Even Sports with the support of Table Tennis Federation of India.
Japan’s 14-year-old sensation Harimoto Tomokazu continued his good run in the tournament, staving off a strong challenge from his compatriot Asuka Sakai and breaking into the quarter-finals. Harimoto, the current junior world champion, came out attacking and claimed the first two games 11-9, 11-9. 
Asuka, who was crowned the Under-21 champion just two days back, showed his mettle to make a strong comeback in the third game. Harimoto won the next one 11-7 but lost the momentum in the fifth, losing 11-13 in an intense duel. Harimoto, however, was back in his elements in the sixth, attacking and screaming his way to a comfortable 11-7 triumph.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov
Dimitrij Ovtcharov
Women’s Singles
Round of 32
Sakura Mori (JPN) Beat Harsha Varshini Calange (IND) - 11-8, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7
Tze Wing Mak (HKG) Beat Moumita Dutta (IND) - 9-11, 11-5, 12-10, 10-12, 11-8, 11-5
Archana Girish Kamath (IND) Beat Ayhika Mukherjee (IND) - 9-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7, 12-10, 12-10
Round of 16
Hoi Kem Doo (HKG) Beat Mousumi Paul (IND) - 11-2, 11-6, 11-6, 13-11
Huajun Jiang (HKG) Beat Sutirtha Mukherjee (IND) - 11-4, 11-3, 13-11, 9-11, 11-6
Matilda Ekholm (SWE) Beat Po-Hsuan Lin (TPE) - 11-3, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6
Jieni Shao (POR) Beat Yi-Ju Wang (TPE) - 10-12, 13-11, 17-15, 11-6, 11-5
Wing Nam NG (HKG) Beat Mouma Das (IND) - 11-6, 11-7, 11-9, 15-13
Georgina Pota (HUN) Beat Wai Yam Minnie Soo (HKG) - 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10
Ho Ching Lee (HKG) Beat Tze Wing Mak (HKG) - 11-5, 11-4, 10-12, 11-8, 9-11
Sakura Mori (JPN) Beat Archana Girish Kamath (IND) - 11-3, 13-11, 5-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-4
Men’s Singles
Round of 32
Masataka Morizono (JPN) Beat Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (IND) - 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8
Joao Geraldo (POR) Beat Steffan Mengel (GER) - 11-9, 13-11, 11-7, 11-7
Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER) Beat Abdulaziz Al-Abbad (KSA) - 11-3, 11-5, 11-4, 11-2
Yuya Oshima (JPN) Beat Lubomir Jancarik (CZE) - 11-8, 9-11, 13-11, 18-16, 11-2
Round of 16
Koki Niwa (JPN) Beat Harmeet Desai (IND) - 14-16, 11-6, 11-7, 11-4, 11-9
Paul Drinkhall (ENG) Beat Ruwen Filus (GER) - 11-4, 16-14, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5
Tianyi Jiang (HKG) Beat Ricardo Walther (GER) - 11-3, 7-11, 11-4, 4-11, 11-5, 11-9, 14-12
Tomokazu Harimoto (JPN) Beat Asuka Sakai (JPN)- 11-9, 11-7, 13-15, 11-7, 11-13, 11-7
Yuya Oshima (JPN) Beat Masataka Morizono (JPN) - 11-5, 11-4, 6-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8
Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER) Beat Joao Geraldo (POR) - 11-3, 11-3, 11-5, 11-4

TT: Samsonov crashes out of ITTF India Open; Indians Sharath, Harmeet move up

Asuka Sakai of Japan
Asuka Sakai of Japan
World number 8 Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus became the first big seed to crash out of the Seamaster ITTF World Tour India Open, dramatically losing to the new Under-21 men’s champion Asuka Sakai of Japan in straight games at the Thyagaraj Stadium here today.
Amazingly, Asuka has not even made the cut into the world rankings yet.
India’s table tennis star Achanta Sharath Kamal began his campaign in the tournament in style, romping to a 4-1 victory over Can Akkuzu of France in his opening round.
He unleashed an impressive range of shots to the delight of an enthusiastic crowd to join his young compatriot Harmeet Desai in the Round of 16. The World No. 59 endured a hiccup in the third game after winning the first three rather consummately  11-5, 11-8, 11- 4. But he asserted his dominance in the fifth again to ensure there were no more anxious moments.
It was a heartbreaking day for Indian women, however, even though two of them managed to sneak into the next round: the country’s main hopes, World No. 91 Manika Batra and newly crowned national champion Madhurika Patkar, tumbled out of the $150,000 tournament almost without a fight.
Achanta Sharath Kamal of India
Achanta Sharath Kamal of India
Manika, of course, lost to her country woman Mousumi Paul 7-11, 11-8, 7-11, 4-11, 8-11 but Madhurika suffered an agonising defeat against Hong Kong’s Wai Yam Soo, capitulating 11-9, 6-11, 2-11, 4-11, 9-11. 
Joining Mousumi in the pre-quarters was Suthirtha Mukherjee who got the better of another Indian player Anikta Das 11-5, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9. 
The biggest heartbreak was suffered by young Krittwika Roy. She was inches away from registering the biggest victory of her career against the fifth seeded Huajun Jiang of Hong Kong. After taking her to the decider, she enjoyed as many five match points but could not capitalise on any of them. 
Earlier in the day, Harmeet started off confidently against World No. 77 Tristan. He attacked, both with his backhand and forehand, and wrapped up the first three games (11-4, 11-6, 11-9) in under 20 minutes. He seemed to be on his way to the next round at 8-7 in the fourth but he let it slip away from him.
As he eased the pressure, the Frenchman defended adroitly and attacked Harmeet’s backhand to win the next three games (11-9, 11-9, 11-7) and restore parity. Harmeet looked a little anxious as the deciding game unfolded. He slipped to 5-6 to face the prospect of a bitter defeat after being in such a dominant position. But then, he reeled off the next 6 points to seal his place in the next round.
“At 3-up, I guess I became a little complacent. Tristan started taking more risks and I was pushed on the defensive, losing crucial points,” Harmeet said after the match. “In the decider, I realized I had to take more risks. I pressed on the pedal which paid dividends and I eventually won the match,” he added.

TT: Three more Indians enter main draw of Seamaster India Open, Sreeja crashes out

Sree Akula
Sree Akula
India’s Harmeet Desai and Gnanasekaran Sathiyan rode into the main draw of the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open, scripting emphatic victories in their final qualification matches at the Thyagaraja Sports Complex here today.
Later in the evening, Amalraj Anthony took the longer route into the knock-out stages of the $150,000 tournament, outsmarting Chinese Taipei’s Tzu-Hsiang Hung in a four-game duel to make it to the main draw. 
The day’s hero, however, was 19-year-old Sreeja Akula who pulled off a significant upset by defeating World No. 171 Chinese Taipei’s Lin Po-Hsuan to become the first Indian woman to make it to the semi-finals in the under-21 women’s singles competition. The Hyderabadi lass, ranked just 322, won 3-2 (11-7, 6-11, 6-11, 11-3, 11-9 for one of her biggest wins in her nascent career.
However, Sreeja could not continue the momentum in the battle for a place in the finals later in the evening. She put up a strong fight against Wai Yam Soo of Hong Kong, even enjoying a game point in the crucial second game. But she could not convert it and ended up losing 2-11, 11-13, 7-11.  
India had two more players in the fray, after finishing second in their respective groups. But, both, Manav Thakkar and Sudhanshu Grover failed to drive home the advantage of home support. Their teammates and fans cheered them on but that could not carry either of them into the next round.
Manav looked good in the opening game against Japan’s Asuka Sakai, winning it 11-7. But Sakai cleverly pegged him on his backhand, not allowing him to bring his fierce forehand into the contest to take the next four games at 7 each. Sudhanshu found Lubomir Jancarik of Czech Republic too hot to handle and wilted away 6-11, 9-11, 8-11, 6-11.
The trio of Harmeet, Sathiyan and Amalraj, however, kept up the good cheer by joining Soumyajit Ghosh and Sanil Shetty in the main draw. Achanta Sharath Kamal, as World No. 62, had got a direct entry and is expected to set into the courts onThursday .
Harmeet Desai
Harmeet Desai
Surat’s Harmeet and Chennai’s Sathiyan, who looked impressive in their twin wins on Tuesday, were equally domineering on Wednesday. The former beat Tzu-Hsiang Hung of Chinese Taipei in straight games and the latter promptly emulated him against Siu Hang Lam of Hong Kong.
Results (Day 2)
U21 Men’s Singles 
Quarter Finals:
Tomokazu Harimoto (JPN) Beat Birdie Boro (IND) - 11-8,11-7,11-5
Siu Hang Lam (HKG) Beat Rohit Bhanja (IND)- 11-6,11-7,11-13,11-5
Takuto Izumo (JPN) Beat Arjun Ghosh (IND) - 14-12,11-7,11-7
Asuka Sakai (JPN) Beat Ali Alkadrawi (KSA) - 11-7,11-9,11-3
Semi Finals:
Siu Hang Lam (HKG) Beat Tomokazu Harimoto (JPN) - 11-6,3-11,16-18,11-9,11-9
Asuka Sakai (JPN) Beat Takuto Izumo (JPN) - 5-11,11-6,11-3,11-9
U21 Women’s Singles
Quarter Finals
Sakura Mori (JPN) Beat Priyanka Pareek (IND) - 11-1,11-3,11-3
Tze Wing Mak (HKG) Beat Archana Kamath (IND) - 11-6,6-11,11-7,6-11,11-9
Sreeja Akula (IND) Beat Po-Hsuan Lin (TPE) - 11-7,6-11,6-11, 11-3,11-9
Wai Yam Minnie Soo (HKG) Beat Ayhika Mukherjee (IND) - 11-9,13-11,11-9
Semi Finals
Wai Yam Minnie Soo (HKG) Beat Sreeja Akula (IND) - 11-2,13-11,11-7
Sakura Mori (JPN) Beat Tze Wing Mak (HKG) - 8-11,11-3,11-8,11-7
Women’s Singles – III Round (Qualifying)
Group 1
Krittwika Roy (IND) Beat Sutirtha Mukherjee (IND) - 11-6,12-10,9-11,7-11,11-9,7-11,11-7
Group 2
Mousumi Paul (IND) Beat Harsha Vardhini Calange (IND) - 11-5,11-9,11-9,11-5
Group 3
Amrutha Pushpak (IND) Beat Selena Selvakumar (IND) - 11-9,6-11,11-7,12-10,9-11,11-9
Group 4
Moumita Dutta (IND) Beat Priyadarshini Das (IND) - 11-4,6-11,11-7,6-11,11-9,11-6
Men’s Singles – III Round (Qualifying)
Group 1
Joao Geraldo (POR) Beat Arjun Ghosh (IND) - 11-6,11-5,11-3,9-11,11-3
Group 2
Ali Alkhadrawi (CZE) Beat Jeet Chandra (IND) - 11-8,13-11,13-11,8-11,11-7
Group 3
Abdulaziz Al-Abbad (KSA) Beat Anirban Ghosh (IND) - 11-2,11-2,11-2,11-5
Group 4
Lubomir Jancarik (CZE) Beat Ronit Bhanja (IND) - 8-11,11-9,11-7,11-5,11-6
Group 5
Quentin Robinot (FRA) Beat Utkarsh Gupta (IND) - 8-11,11-5,11-5,11-9,11-5
Amalraj Anthony (IND) Beat Omer Avi-Tal (PAN) - 11-8,11-4,11-8,11-4
Group 6
Alvaro Robles (ESP) Beat Sudhanshu Grover (IND) - 11-7,11-5,11-6,11-8
Group 7
Harmeet Desai (IND) Beat Tzu-Hsiang Hung (TPE) - 11-5,17-15,11-4,11-7
Takuto Izumo (JPN) Beat Birdie Boro (IND)- 9-11,11-6,17-15,11-9, 11-7
Group 8
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (IND) Beat Jasper Merckx (BEL) - 11-6,11-2,11-7,11-5
Siu Hang Lam (HKG) Beat Abhishek Yadav (IND) - 10-12,11-6,9-11,11-9,11-8,11-7
Group 9
Samuel Walker (ENG) Beat Jubin Kumar(IND) - 11-4,11-5,6-11,11-8,13-11
Abdel-Kader Salifou(FRA) Beat Abdulaziz Bu Shulaybi (KSA) - 11-4,11-6,11-5,11-5
Group 10
Can Akkuzu (FRA) Beat Subhajit Saha (IND) - 11-4,11-9,11-7,11-5
Asuka Sakai (JPN) Beat Abdulaziz Alamri (KSA) - 11-7,11-6,11-2,11-3
Men’s Singles (Pre-Rounds)
Round of 16
Asuka Sakai (JPN) Beat Manav Vikash Thakkar (IND) - 11-7,7-11,7-11,7-11,7-11
Abdel-Kader Salifou (FRA) Beat Ali Alkhadrawi (KSA) - 11-6,11-6,11-7,11-7
Siu Hang Lam (HKG) Beat Abdulaziz  Al-Abbad (KSA) - 11-8,13-15,7-11,11-6,11-5,11-5
Amalraj Anthony (IND) Beat Tzu-Hsiang Hung (HKG) - 11-9,11-7,11-7,13-15,11-8
Lubomir Jancarik (CZE) Beat Sudhanshu Grover (IND) - 11-6,11-9,11-8,11-6

All eyes on Soumyajit Ghosh as ITTF World Tour India Open qualifiers begin on Tuesday

Soumyajit Ghosh
Soumyajit Ghosh
India’s star paddler and double Olympian Soumyajit Ghosh will lead the country’s campaign in the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open qualifying rounds that get under way here at the Thyagaraj Stadium on Tuesday.
The former national champion will be vying along with 16 other Indians to get into the main draw of the $150,000 India Open, the highest prize money table tennis tournament in the country.
A number of world class players, including No. 5 Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany and No. 8 Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, will be seen in action in the men’s section; on the distaff side, the Hong Kong duo of World No. 14 Doo Hoi Kem and No. 19 Ching Lee Ho will be the star attractions in the event organised by 11Even Sports with the support of Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI). 
Table tennis fans will be eager to get a glimpse of Japan’s 14-year-old prodigy Tomokazu Harimoto who became the youngest world junior champion in 2015. He is the top seed in the under 21 section that begins tomorrow as well.
India’s fans will have a lot to cheer for, with India’s number one in men’s and women’s categories- Achanta Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra- getting direct entries into the main draw along with former national champions Mouma Das and Ankita Das as well as prodigy Ayhika Mukherjee.
Ghosh, the World No. 82, will launch his campaign against compatriot Jeet Chandra; he will take on Ali Alkhadrawi later in the day and will fancy his chances of lasting till the end of the weekend.
As many as 36 players will be aspiring for a place in the tournament proper. They have been divided into 10 groups, with the winners of each group sailing ahead. The second-placed finishers will have to play and win one more match each to make it to the knockout stages. The 16th place, the last slot, will go to one lucky loser.
Japanese prodigy Tomokazu Harimoto
Japanese prodigy Tomokazu Harimoto
Portugal’s Joao Geraldo, as the current World No. 74, is the top seed in the qualifying rounds. He will be up against the Indian duo of Arjun Ghosh and Manav Vikash. Another Indian hope Sanil Shetty has been drawn in Group 4 and will face-off against countryman Rohit Bhanja and Lubomir Jancarik of Czech Republic in his bid to enter the knock-out stages of tournament. 
Anirban Ghosh is another Indian star who will be aiming to qualify for the knock-out stages. He is placed in Group Three but has the arduous task for overcoming third seeded Tianyl Jiang of Hong Kong in his first match. He will then take on Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Al-Abbad in his second match in this round.
Harmeet Desai has been drawn alongside fellow countryman Birdie Boro, Takuto Izumo and Tzu-Hsiang Hung of Chinese Taipei in Group Seven, while World No. 84 Quentin Robinot of France will be up against Omer Avi-Tal of Panama and Anthony Amalraj and Utkarsh Gupta of India.

Mission XI Million, biggest school sports outreach programme, launched

Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel (right) and AIFF President Praful Patel unveiling Kheleo, the mascot for FIFA under 17 World Cup India 2017, during the launch of the Mission XI Million, the biggest school sport outreach programme, in New Delhi on February 10, 2017.
Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel (right) and AIFF President Praful Patel unveiling Kheleo, the mascot for FIFA under 17 World Cup India 2017, during the launch of the Mission XI Million, the biggest school sport outreach programme, in New Delhi on February 10, 2017.
Mission XI Million, the biggest school sports outreach programme in India to promote football,was launched here yesterday by Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel.
A first of its kind programme, it will encourage children to play the "beautiful game of football", gain healthy habits and learn important life lessons in teamwork and sportsman spirit, an official press release said.
The approach is to work with school principals and sports teachers and encourage and incentivize them to make children play football games on regular basis, it added. 
All India Football Federation (AIFF) President and former Union Minister Praful Patel was also present at the launch.
Speaking on the occasion,  Mr Goel said that, over the past year, his Ministry had made taken bold strides towards developing a sporting culture in the country. Projects like Khelo India are helping towards developing sport at the ground level while the TOPS scheme and Olympic Task forces look to help elite athletes bring glory to India in the international arena, he said.
“With the FIFA U-17 World Cup being held in India in October this year, we are building our infrastructure and showcasing our ability to organize and execute global sporting events,” he added.
“But it is not just the stadiums and grounds that need to be built. In his Mann Ki Baat address on March 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 as a great opportunity for youth that can start a revolution in sports throughout our country,’ Mr Goel said.
“In his words, this whole year there should be an atmosphere of football in the schools and colleges and around our country. The Mission XI Million programme that we are launching today is inspired by this vision,” he added.
Mr. Goel and Mr. Patel also unveiled Kheleo, the mascot for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup India 2017 on the occasion.
The Minister described Mission XI Million as a massive school engagement programme for football. Designed with international sporting expertise, but keeping in mind the ground realities of a huge and varied country, it aims to instil the passion for football in 11 million children from every part of the country.
The key idea of Mission Xi Million is that every child should have the opportunity to play the world’s most popular sport. To make that happen, schools and parents must be equally involved in children’s physical well being, he pointed out.
Mission XI Million will provide parents and schools with the equipment and the knowledge about how to make regular play a reality for their wards. The programme will be rolled out in every state of the country, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari from Kutch to Imphal. The initial activity has already started, and the response from the schools and children has been encouraging, he said.
Aiming to reach out to over 37 cities and 12,000 schools across all 29 states of India, the initiative will focus on games that can be adapted to different field sizes and conditions, with special emphasis in small sided games (4 vs. 4 and 5 vs. 5).
It is divided into three phases: seminars for teacher and educators, in-school activities and football festivals, which will run up to September 2017, he added.

Foundation stone laid for first training centre for para athletes

As the first step towards setting up the first ever training centre of excellence dedicated for para athletes in the country, Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports Vijay Goel has laid the foundation stone of the boundary wall for the centre here.
Para athletes had won four medals at the Rio Olympics and Prime Minister Narendra Modi after meeting gold medallist Devender Jhajharia expressed the desire to open a world class para athletic centre. Accordingly, the Sports Minister approved a Centre of Excellence for Differently Abled Sportspersons at Sports Authority of India, Gandhinagar, an official press release said.
Speaking on the occasion here yesterday, Mr Goel said a Talent Search Portal would be launched soon to spot budding sportspersons in the country. 
He said the centre would help para ahtletes to showcase their skills and talent further at national and international levels.
The centre is proposed to be built at an estimated budget of over Rs. 50 crore. It will have world class facilities where para athletes will be trained for various international competitions.
It will also host seminars, educational programmes and workshops throughout the year with the help of International Paralympic Committee.
The centre will have a fully air-conditioned indoor hall, 100-bed elite hostel, VIP accommodation for foreign guests and open land for warm-ups.
The entire project will be completed by the CPWD in coordination with the various experts and consultants.
Earlier in the day, Mr Goel inaugurated SAI Training Centre (Para) at SAI NSWC Gandhinagar. This centre will provide facilities for training boys and girls in the in the age group of 14 – 20 years in athletics, swimming and power lifting.
With a total strength of 50 (Boys & Girls), the annual budget for this scheme is Rs. 50 lakh.  All the selected para athletes will be accommodated in Elite Hostel.
Synthetic Athletic Track, International Standard Swimming Pool and modern fitness centre with world class equipment will be available at the centre along with qualified coaches in each discipline.
Facilities like Lodging / Boarding, Sports Kits, Competition exposure, Medical Insurance will be provided under the STC Scheme.
Selection trials were conducted on February 3 and 4 and the selected probables will be joining the centre after the completion of their examination.
The dignitaries, players and coaches at the foundation laying ceremony included Devender Jhajharia, Vijay Muneshwar, Arjuna awardee, Power-Lifting, R. D. Singh, Dronacharya Awardee (Athletics) and senior officials of Department of Sports and SAI.

Govt. sets up committee on Sports Governance

The Government has constituted a nine-member committee headed by Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas to study the existing sports governance framework and issues relating to sports governance in the country.
An official  press release said here today that recent developments related to sports governance, including court judgements and international best practices, would be discussed by the committee. 
It would make recommendations on bringing out a comprehensive National Sports Development Code across sports disciplines, the release said.
Apart from Srinivas as Chairman, the other members of the committee are Olympian Abhinav Bindra, Olympian Anju Bobby George, Prakash Padukone, former All-England badminton champion and coach, Narinder Batra, President, FIH, lawyer Nandan Kamath, coach Bishweshwar Nandi, sports journalist Vijay Lokpally and Joint Secretary (Sports), MYAS, Member Secretary.
Terms of reference of the committee are to identify basic universal principles of ethics and good governance based on the IOC Charter international best practices, draft National Sports Development Bill, National Sports Development Code, 2011, Supreme Court and High Court judgements, etc.; to identify issues pertaining to good governance in administration of sports in the country and to make specific recommendations for bringing out a comprehensive Sports Code to address the issues of governance pertaining to the National Olympic Committee and National Sports Federations. 
The committee is required to submit its report within a month, the release added.

Army chief felicitates J&K schoolgirl for kickboxing gold medal

General Dalbir Singh, the Chief of the Army Staff, felicitated Tajamul Islam, student of Class II of Army Goodwill School, Bandipora, and winner of ‘Gold Medal’ in World Sub Junior Kickboxing Championship at his South Block office here yesterday.
She won the gold medal in the championship which was held at Andriana, Italy, after beating her American opponent. The child prodigy won six bouts to lift the championship in her category. 
The Army chief praised the grit and determination of the little girl who has made the nation proud and hoped that her success would inspire other children of the valley. Tajamul Islam expressed her joy on meeting him.
This young talent was spotted and initially nurtured by the Army Goodwill School, Bandipora. Tajamul started her journey in the world of kickboxing by winning the Gold Medal at the State level championship, held in Jammu in 2015. She thereafter, won gold medal in sub-junior category at 2015 National Kickboxing Championship, held at Talkatora Stadium here.

Mukherjee meets Paralympics 2016 athletes

President Pranab Mukherjee received the participants of the recently concluded Paralympics 2016 at Rashtrapati Bhawan here yesterday.
Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports  Vijay Goel was among those present on the occasion.
The para-athletes included gold medallists Devendra Jhajharia (Javelin Throw) and Mariyappan Thangavelu (High Jump), silver medal winner Deepa Malik (Women’s Shot Put), and bronze medal winner Varun Singh Bhati (High Jump).
They had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 22.  Later, in a series of tweets on the social network site Twitter, he lauded their achievements.
The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has announced cash awards of a total of Rs. 90 lakh for the Rio Paralympics 2016 medal winners.
Social Justice & Empowerment Minister Thawaarchand Gehlot, will felicitate the medal winners at a special felicitation programme.
Thangavelu and Jhajharia will be awarded Rs 30 lakh cash prize, silver medallist Deepa Malik will be given Rs 20 lakh and Varun Singh Bhati Rs 10 lakh.
It was India’s best ever performance in Paralympics history. Thangavelu made a leap of 1.89 metres to bag the gold medal while Bhati jumped his personal best of 1.86m to finish third and won bronze.
Jhajharia clinched gold in Javelin throw while Malik bagged silver in shot put to become the first ever Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympics Games.
India sent the biggest ever contingent of 19 athletes to the Rio Paralympics. More than 4400 athletes from 160 countries participated at the games, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from September 7-18.

Sports sector given infrastructure status

The Ministry of Finance has decided that sports infrastructure will be included under the Harmonized Master List of Infrastructure Sub-sectors, including the provision of sports stadia and infrastructure for academies for training and research in sports and sports-related activities.
In this connection, the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, had issued a gazette notification on September 9, an official press release said.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs had moved the proposal for the inclusion of sports in the list to address the issue of deficit of sports infrastructure in the country.
This would make the sports sector eligible for obtaining long-term financial support from banks and other financial institutions on the same principle as is available to other infrastructure projects.
The release said the Ministry of Finance had taken the decision after a series of meetings and discussions with different agencies, including the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
"This inclusion would encourage private investment in a public good which has socio-economic externalities in a country with young population. It will also bolster investment in sports infrastructure sector which will contribute to the economy and help in promotion of health and fitness of the people of this country as also provide opportunities for employment in the new and exciting sectors. It goes without saying that investment of the private sector will widen the platform from where the country can become a sporting power in future," the release added.

Rs 90 lakh cash awards for Rio Paralympics 2016 medal winners

The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has announced cash awards of a total of Rs. 90 lakh for the Rio Paralympics 2016 medal winners.
Social Justice & Empowerment Minister Thawaarchand Gehlot, will felicitate the medal winners at a special felicitation programme.
Gold medal winners Mariyappan Thangavelu and Devendra Jhajharia will be awarded Rs 30 lakh cash prize, silver medallist Deepa Malik will be given Rs 20 lakh and Varun Singh Bhati Rs 10 lakh for winning bronze medal at the Rio Paralympics 2016.
“Indian para-athletes bagged impressive four medals at the Rio Paralympics 2016 and made history. The success of para athletes has made India proud. The department has decided to award cash prize of total Rs 90 lakh to medal winners,” Mr Gehlot said.
It was India’s best ever performance in Paralympics history. Thangavelu made a leap of 1.89 metres to bag the gold medal while Bhati jumped his personal best of 1.86m to finish third and won bronze.
Jhajharia clinched gold in Javelin throw while Malik bagged silver in shot put to become the first ever Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympics Games.
India sent its biggest ever contingent of 19 athletes to the Rio Paralympics. More than 4400 athletes from 160 countries participated at the games, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from September 7-18.

Modi unveils roll on trophy for BRICS U-17 Football Tournament

Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday unveiled the roll on trophy for the BRICS U-17 Football Tournament, scheduled to be held in Goa from October 5 to October 15.
In his address on the occasion, Mr Modi reiterated the nation’s commitment to ‘Sports for All’ besides ‘Khelo India’ and taking football to every corner of the country.
He emphasised that the youth were the leaders of the future and their shared understanding and bonhomie was an imperative to ensure that the BRICS Summit continues to receive the impetus it deserves.
Wishing the tournament grand success, the Prime Minister said he was confident that it would meet its objective of facilitating greater understanding and friendship among all participants.
In his introductory address, Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel said the trophy symbolised the free and enterprising spirit of youth and strength and commitment of the BRICS nations towards solidarity in their global endeavours.
The ceremony was attended by Ambassadors and High Commissioners of BRICS nations and other dignitaries.

Cricketers Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane receive Arjuna Awards

Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel conferring the Arjuna Award on cricketer Ajinkya Rahane, in New Delhi on September 16, 2016.
Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel conferring the Arjuna Award on cricketer Ajinkya Rahane, in New Delhi on September 16, 2016.
Cricketers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane received the prestigious Arjuna Awards from Sports Minister Vijay Goel at a function at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here today.
Sharma was conferred the Arjuna Award for 2015 and Rahane for 2016, but they could not receive the awards from the President earlier because they were playing in tournaments abroad at that time.
The Arjuna Awards, instituted in 1961, are given to sportspersons for consistently outstanding performance for four years preceding the year of award and who have also shown qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and a sense of discipline.
The awardees are given a statuette, a certificate, ceremonial dress and award money of Rs. 5 lakh.
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